I am writing this and there is a snow storm in the forecast.. Vive le Québec!
I don’t shoot much outdoor during winter. There is something not that appealing to me in dragging a portable studio through 3 feet of snow to get to that interesting remote location; that is a reality I am living with ever since I started to do photography. It does not mean I wouldn’t do it but I would definitely think of a plan B. Last week, the temperature went way up over here, melting much of the snow and clearing up the streets. No more excuses.
I worked with Eva Lajoie last year during an outing/workshop organized by Peter Kelly. We met mid-afternoon and have very little time to work together as each of the 10 photographers were shooting on a rotating schedule. None the less, it was enough to meet, exchange contact information and trigger a certain interest in each other’s work.
Shortly after shooting Laura, I received a message from Eva, asking me if I would be interested in a collaboration. We exchanged a few emails, setup a day, a time and discussed outfits a bit. The main goal was to go for editorial looking images rather than portraits. We were shooting in the Old Montreal so inspiration should take care of the rest.
Of course, it was warm last week, it was very warm last Friday. It was cold at 9am in the shade of the Old Montreal building. I couldn’t personally complain with my winter coat and tuque on but I really felt bad for Eva in her short blue dress. I made sure Eva would feel comfortable enough to let me know if it was too cold for her by making sure to ask her on regular intervals. Eva’s attitude and professionalism on that front was exceptional.
So, shooting in the Old Montreal… Anyone shooting in Montreal has to shoot at least once in Old Montreal; there is no way to avoid that. Every buildings have been photographed from every different angles already but still, there is that feeling of being far away from home to be exploited, especially in the morning. Old Montreal is a tourists magnet with its old buildings and paved roads. It does not take long before the street gets packed with cars looking for parking spaces and tourists wandering around. Anyone interested in shooting there, the best time is between 4am and 10am. This is when there is no one around. This is the perfect time where you can isolate a model in an urban scenery.
We parked the truck on St-Paul street. Not only St-Paul is deep enough in Old Montreal to hide the modern architecture that makes Montreal what it is but offers nice shade and light bouncing on buildings across the street. St-Paul also provide a beautiful long curve, eliminating the empty horizon a strait street offers. We walked a bit until we found the right spot to start and with very little directions, Eva offered incredible interactions with her surroundings giving me the feeling all I had to do was to press the shutter. After a while, we came across the truck again, grabbed the 2nd outfit and headed toward the Marché Bonsecours for a clothes change. Although Eva showed me the outfit earlier, it was nothing compared to seeing it as a whole. Not only Eva can pull the best trendy “Native Indian with nerdy glasses*” look, but the contrast with the initial outfit she was wearing would definitely force a different photo shoot style.
*I grew up and lived through the era where these glasses were only for nerds; I had a pair of those… I so wanted to get contacts back then…
For that “second” photo shoot, we went down to De La Commune street. This is the street that follows the water edge. This is also the street that is flooded with light and offers much higher contrasts. Not only the light was harsher, the scene different and the outfit more trendy, Eva’s attitude adapted and made her interact in front of the camera differently. She added a fashion twist to the images, kind of like those large posters you find in stores such as GAP, American Eagle and American Apparel. That adaptation to the outfit made the difference. Modeling is like acting; you need to be able to become the character in order to pull it off.
I am looking forward for our next collaboration, hopefully before next Spring. I am sure we can come up with cool stuff and ideas.